Washington: The US has sought immediate re- arrest and prosecution of the JuD chief Hafiz Saaed, warning Islamabad that there would be repercussions for bilateral ties if it fails to act.
The Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) head walked free on Friday after the Pakistan government decided against detaining him further in any other case. He was under detention since January this year.
In a statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on Saturday said the US strongly condemns the release of the Lashkar-e-Taiba leader from house arrest and calls for his immediate re-arrest and prosecution.
“If Pakistan does not take action to lawfully detain Saeed and charge him for his crimes, its inaction will have repercussions for bilateral relations and for Pakistan’s global reputation,” Sanders said.
She said Saeed’s release, after Pakistan’s failure to prosecute or charge him, sends a “deeply troubling message” about Pakistan’s commitment to combating international terrorism and “belies Pakistani claims” that it will not provide sanctuary for “terrorists” on its soil.
“As President Donald Trump’s South Asia policy makes clear, the US seeks a constructive relationship with Pakistan, but expects decisive action against militant and terrorist groups on Pakistani soil that are a threat to the region. The release of Saeed is a step in the wrong direction,” she said.
She said the Pakistani government now “has an opportunity to demonstrate its seriousness in confronting all forms of terrorism, without distinction, by arresting and charging Hafiz Saeed for his crimes.”
The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT.